Monday, March 10, 2008

"Sugar" Learning Curve

We've submitted applications for the official Developer's Program to receive a few machines, but the lead time is unknown. It seems there are a few issues with power management and battery life on the latest factory builds that have tied up the Cambridge team. While hardware development relies heavily on a quick response, back-end GUI development will have to rely on the Sugar Emulation in the interim.

Emulation setup: I've installed QEMU with the latest image. Jake installed the Sugar build on Ubuntu. We've both had no problems in the installation process. I've also collected all the necessary utilities and libraries to create a Developer's Tools CD for distribution to Gary and others. For ease, I've incorporated a few batch scripts to simplify the installation and run process. Hopefully this lowers the learning curve for environment setup and brings people quicker into development.

Python and GUI designer tutorials: With Alex Keybl's permission, I'd like to distribute his powerpoint tutorials to other team members that are not as familiar with Python. My familiarity with Perl has helped me out with Python but there's still much needed time to be spent getting familiar with all of the GTK libraries. I usually love to leverage GUI designers like NetBeans back in the Swing days but I've already developed a hate for Glade. I'll enclose Glade tutorials with the Tools CD but I'll still recommend brute-force construction for the time-being.

Hello World ECG: Our simple Hello World code for the ECG interface. I've constructed a little GUI and sugarized some Activity code to integrate one of Jake's beat detector methods. The code currently reads from dummy data files, but will soon be integrated with the ADC interface after our hardware development gains more traction.

Icon artwork courtesy of the wonderful Diane.

Other local SW-driven efforts: So far I've made contact with two other groups; Charles Merriam heads weekend Silicon Valley jam sessions and Sameer Verma heads an awareness group in San Francisco. I'll need to follow-up with them later to see if they'd like to get involved and understand their current objectives.

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